You never want to be “that guy.” Now, funny thing is that you don’t need to be an expert at social dynamics to quickly identify the asshole at the party who is unanimously dubbed “that guy.” It’s sort of like how we know really good grandma apple pie from shitty store bought processed fake version. I don’t have the verbiage to eloquently explain why that pie sucks like a professional food taster could – I just know that I wouldn’t feed it to my dog that doesn’t exist. Identifying “that guy” is similar in that you don’t need a sociology degree to identity said asshole.
Since I’m all about full disclosure here at Show Me Strength, I figured it was time to make a confession and admit that throughout my brief adult life (forget the fact that I’m pushing 25 real soon), there have been occasions when I’ve been “that guy.” Well, maybe I’m being hard on myself with that label. I mean, I’m sure 63% of my readership has taken their shirt off from time to time (ok, maybe frequently) at college parties. No? Alright well, maybe I am the asshole.
Whether you’d quickly identify and hate me or not, I could think of no better way to celebrate the revival of my college career and celebrate my last first day of school ever then taking my shirt off – but this time via the interwebz. In all seriousness, I want to show you what the result of my two week (technically 11 days) shredding experiment was.
I’m not going to outline my methods because I’ve already done that in a previous article (click me). In total, I had 11 training sessions in 11 days. I went double sessions twice with intervals in the morning with a metabolic training session in the afternoon. Two days were complete rest.
The most important part of my experiment was to see if my methods actually worked. I didn’t have access to body fat calipers (sue me) so all I have to judge my results off of is a mirror and a cell-phone selfie and some photo-shoot esque lighting. Just kidding, I kept the lighting and the background the same so I couldn’t scam you into thinking I got shredded sitting on my ass and eating twinkies for two weeks. Without further ado, you can be the judge…
For 11 days, I thought what transpired ended up being pretty damn good. If we’re going to call a spade a spade, I’m sure there was some water manipulation involved in the before/after pictures. I didn’t intentionally cut water but lower carb dieting will have that effect. At the start of my experiment I checked in at 225 and ended my cut at 221.5 and I lost a total of three inches off my stomach in various places. My quads unfortunately didn’t get any smaller so I’ll be anxiously awaiting the launch of Barbell Denim so I can fit in a regular pair of pants.
Suffering + Good Science = Shredded
The science was damn good, too good in fact to fail. A simple understanding of fat loss physiology goes a long way in constructing programs that allow for rapid fat loss in a short amount of time. Physiologically, my protocol was going to work. Except, fat loss doesn’t happen in a vacuum and physiology isn’t the only factor at play here. Psychology matters and to be completely honest, this protocol was really fucking hard.
I suffered. A lot.
Professional baseball is my background. I’ve accustomed to strength and power training sessions where the intensity may be high but rest periods are long and there’s no real metabolic training effect.
Training during this protocol was some of the most grueling uncomfortable training sessions of my life. There were a couple sessions where I front squatted 185 a total of 40 times followed by 80 forward lunges with little to no rest. This happened after a full interval session with 20 minutes of cardio mixed in between.
There were times when I wanted to stop. My legs were quivering, breath was all but nonexistent, and that little voice in my head was bellowing. And that was only the training aspect. Everyone worth their salt knows that God could have written my training program but if my nutrition wasn’t on point, all would be for not.
Zero carb days were difficult. Zero carb weekends were even harder. Even a big serving of protein and fat seemed to induce carb cravings that were hard to ignore. And then there was that whole 1000 calorie caloric deficit each day. The temptation to eat myself satisfied at night loomed large but I resisted. My bro science told me that if I went to bed hungry there was a significant chance that I would wake up leaner. I was largely correct.
Rethinking Real World Application of Physiology
Eleven days isn’t a long time frame. Despite however difficult my training and nutrition may have been, I didn’t have to maintain the sacrifice for all too long. Being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel made everything psychologically seem ok.
I reckon it’s similar to when you’re doing a set of high rep squats and instead of seeing this voluminous 20 rep monster, it all seems tangible and doable when you break it up into 20 sets of 1. Breaking up your set in this manner makes it seem significantly less daunting psychology.
And maybe that’s the point that we’re all missing in the industry. How often do we hear stories who just seemingly can’t follow a basic training program with simple dietary prescriptions long enough to make significant change but they’re willing to train hard for two months so they can do that Tough Mudder with all their friends. And you know what the crazy part is? Often times they succeed at the more difficult task.
If you can control dopamine, you can produce significant change and get big time results. The best physiology in the world doesn’t mean a goddamn thing if you can’t win over that individual’s psychology.
Clearly the answer isn’t fad diets or program ADD which surely will bring a whole lot of dopamine to the brain with little results to show for it. Maybe the answer is breaking big time goals into incremental pieces and attacking them bursts at at time. Hard six weeks of training and dieting followed by a couple weeks off and then the cycle repeats itself. It keeps the body fresh but more importantly it keeps the brain stimulated.
The brain wins – period.
Try out the new model I presented and see what happens. Push the volume and intensity higher than what your textbook advises and then back off. Go lower carb than what is comfortable and then restore homeostasis and maintenance calories. I think you’ll find that the all too familiar burn out that the recreational trainee experiences just doesn’t happen when you program for the brain and the body.
Our “Six Weeks To Shredded” program is Show Me Strength’s experimental trial into this new model of adaptation. It’s hard, you will suffer, but most importantly you’ll get quicker results than you ever have in the shortest amount of time. We still have a few spots open to those who want to escape from the mediocre bullshit that runs most people’s lives.
If interested, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, “Get Shredded.” If what happened to me took only eleven days with our protocol, imagine six weeks. Below is another “guinea pig” who busted his ass for a month’s time to get diesel results.It’s science.